I am passionate about healthy congregations. I find that many question why I would care about local congregations because there is a pervasive belief that the Church is the problem with religion. In a moment of honesty, many evangelicals would confess they believed disciples of Jesus Christ would be better off without congregations of any kind. I want to communicate why I believe healthy congregations bring hope to the world.
I had very low self-esteem growing up. I covered this by being witty and intelligent, but I was truly paralyzed with self-doubt and fear of what others thought about me. When I was a sophomore in high school, my family moved to a new congregation, the Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene, TX. I found something at this church I had never experienced: acceptance. Youth workers and students genuinely cared for me. Students from rival high schools took me under their wing and befriended me. They let me be myself; a very awkward adolescent! I found friendships and security that I had never before known. I remember going to a student-led worship time at a home on a Sunday evening. As we all worshipped together, I looked around the room and realized two pivotal ideas. The first was this: I would die for any of these people. The second was this: Any of these people would die for me. In a student-led worship time that I doubt anyone else would remember, my world changed forever.
My love for my congregation flowed naturally out of my love for Christ and for other people. It is a passion in me because I experienced God’s salvation through God’s people! I am passionate about healthy congregations and healthy church leadership because I want everyone to experience life-changing relationships for themselves.
How have you experienced life-changing relationships through a healthy congregation?